Big Country Audubon Society

Stories from August, 2008

August 31, 2008 – Lake Kirby

  • Great Blue Heron 4
  • Great Egret 11
  • Snowy Egret 5
  • Green Heron 1
  • Turkey Vulture 4
  • Killdeer 6
  • Spotted Sandpiper 3
  • Rock Pigeon 11
  • White-winged Dove 4
  • Mourning Dove 10
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
  • Chimney Swift 5
  • Belted Kingfisher 1
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 2
  • Cliff Swallow 50
  • Barn Swallow 5
  • Black-crested Titmouse 2
  • Carolina Wren 2
  • Northern Mockingbird 9
  • Curve-billed Thrasher 2
  • European Starling 5
  • Yellow Warbler 3
  • Lark Sparrow 4
  • Northern Cardinal 7
  • Pyrrhuloxia 1
  • Painted Bunting 3
  • Red-winged Blackbird 5
  • Great-tailed Grackle 21
  • House Finch 5

Sightings by Dan Symonds

August 30, 2008 – NE Fisher County

NE Fisher County:

  • Northern Bobwhite 50
  • Turkey Vulture 33
  • Swainson’s Hawk 4
  • Red-tailed Hawk 1
  • American Kestrel 2
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove 10
  • White-winged Dove 25
  • Mourning Dove 200
  • Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2
  • Greater Roadrunner 3
  • Chimney Swift 2
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker 4
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 200
  • Loggerhead Shrike 6
  • White-eyed Vireo 2
  • Barn Swallow 100
  • Northern Mockingbird 30
  • Brown Thrasher 4
  • Lark Sparrow 33
  • Blue Grosbeak 2
  • Painted Bunting 2
  • Eastern Meadowlark 4
  • Great-tailed Grackle 13
  • Orchard Oriole 11
  • Bullock’s Oriole 15
  • House Sparrow 4

Sightings by Dan Symonds

Other Sightings Saturday:

  • White-eyed Vireo – 6, Abilene State Park
  • Black Tern – 10, Lake Abilene
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 1, Lake Abilene
  • Rufous-crowned Sparrow – 1, Lake Abilene
  • White-faced Ibis – 3, Lake Kirby
  • Common Tern – 2, Lake Kirby
  • Caspian Tern – 1, Lake Kirby
  • Forster’s Tern – 2 on Sunday, Lake Kirby

Other Sightings by Lorie Black

September Announcements:

September 4, 2008: Annual BCAS Meeting

  • Where: At the Lodge at Oakwood Trails, Abilene State School (click to see directions)
  • Time: 6 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Bring: your own brown-bag dinner. Desserts and drinks will be provided.
  • Also bring: an item or two for a silent auction.
  • Program: We’ll elect new officers, have a silent auction, and have a short program. Guests are welcome.

Field_Guide

National Geographic’s newest field guide (above) will be included in the silent auction along with other bird books, note cards, photographs, and other birding items. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 20, 2008 – 7:30 a.m: Field Trip to Oakwood Trails.

Meet at the entrance to the trails (parking lot near Lodge). We’ll be looking for migrating songbirds. Bring binoculars, hat, suncreen, water, and snacks. This will be a half-day field trip. In case of inclement weather, please see this website or call our hotline (325.691.8981) to see if the trip has been cancelled.

White Hummingbird in Abilene

WhiteHum

There is an almost albino (leucistic) hummingbird in Abilene, Texas. It is coming to a feeder at a private residence in south Abilene. If you are interested in seeing this bird, please contact us through this web site and a field trip will be arranged. More photos can be seen here.

August 23, 2008 – Waste Water

Highlights:

Complete List:

  • Blue-winged Teal – 4
  • Northern Bobwhite – 3
  • Great Blue Heron – 1
  • Great Egret – 1
  • Snowy Egret – 2
  • Cattle Egret – 15
  • White-faced Ibis – 26
  • Turkey Vulture – 2
  • Swainson’s Hawk – 2
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 1
  • American Golden-Plover – in a field off Hwy 351
  • Killdeer – 21
  • Black-necked Stilt – 35
  • Spotted Sandpiper – 2
  • Solitary Sandpiper – 4
  • Greater Yellowlegs – 15
  • Lesser Yellowlegs – 5
  • Upland Sandpiper – 13
  • Least Sandpiper – 26
  • Baird’s Sandpiper – 2
  • Stilt Sandpiper – 2
  • Long-billed Dowitcher – 22
  • Long-billed Curlew – 1 in a field off Hwy 351
  • Wilson’s Phalarope – 23
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – 2
  • White-winged Dove – 4
  • Mourning Dove – 23
  • Inca Dove – 2 in Abilene
  • Common Nighthawk – 1 in Abilene
  • Chimney Swift – 2 in Abilene
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird – 2 in Abilene
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird – 4 * with one being leucistic see a picture here in Abilene
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker – 1
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – 12
  • Blue Jay – 2
  • Bank Swallow – 2
  • Cliff Swallow – 1
  • Cave Swallow – 5
  • Barn Swallow – 15
  • Northern Mockingbird 8
  • European Starling 25
  • Lark Sparrow 2
  • Northern Cardinal 3
  • Painted Bunting 2
  • Red-winged Blackbird 100
  • Eastern Meadowlark 1
  • Common Grackle 23
  • Great-tailed Grackle 100
  • Brown-headed Cowbird 25
  • House Finch 1
  • House Sparrow 5

Sightings by Bill Hughes, Bera Johnson, Laura Packer, Don & Sondra Seamster, Dan Symonds, and Heidi Trudell

Mystery Oriole

Oriole

A birder sent me a couple of pictures of an oriole he thinks is Hooded. It does appear to have a larger bill than Orchard and he said the overall size was clearly larger than any Orchard he’d seen before. The bird was seen at Lake Kirby in the weeds next to the dam. It was alone but feeding near a house finch and it was larger than the finch. Please take a closer look at larger pictures here.

Any thoughts? Please feel free to leave your comments. Thanks!

Seeing is Believing: American Woodcock in Taylor County – August 11, 2008

Yesterday I opened up my inbox to discover an e-mail from a Big Country Audubon member who claimed to have seen an American Woodcock. Baloney! He saw a snipe. But when he sent the promised pictures, I was in SHOCK!

AMWO

How could this be? Woodcocks are nocturnal (he saw it during the daylight), they are very shy and secretive (it was walking about in plain sight), and he was able to approach it at close range (woodcocks never let you get close to them) to photograph it. Besides, woodcocks are a bird of moist, wet, dense habitat within dense eastern woods. This bird was seen on top of the cedar covered mountains in Buffalo Gap, Texas. No woodcock in his right mind would willingly choose cedar habitat to land in.

AMWO

So how did this solitary and secretive bird end up on this West Texas blog? The weather. An early cold front with winds out of the northeast probably had a lot to do with this misguided sandpiper ending up in Buffalo Gap. This little guy must have been migrating, hit our storm system which blew him off course, and he flew until his fat reserves could no longer sustain flight, and he dropped out of the sky onto the sidewalk in front of an Audubon member’s house who happened to have a camera. While the woodcock scarfed up bugs in the front yard, Jay Capra grabbed his camera, took a couple of shots and then called the family to come look. Their response upon seeing the bird: “that’s the ugliest bird we’ve ever seen.”

Thank you, Jay, for documenting this rare bird! I know of only one other sighting from another Big Country Audubon member and it came from the Abilene State Park years ago. (We’re still checking to determine how many years ago.) And like Jay’s sighting, we found it hard to believe. Until now.

August 10, 2008 – Lake Abilene

  • Great Blue Heron 5
  • Great Egret 1
  • Turkey Vulture 12
  • Mississippi Kite 3
  • Red-tailed Hawk 1
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove 15
  • White-winged Dove 25
  • Mourning Dove 12
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird 1
  • Belted Kingfisher 1
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee 2
  • Eastern Phoebe 1
  • Western Kingbird 2
  • White-eyed Vireo 1
  • Blue Jay 2
  • Purple Martin 2
  • Cliff Swallow 15
  • Cave Swallow 10
  • Barn Swallow 10
  • Eastern Bluebird 2
  • Summer Tanager 2
  • Lark Sparrow 16
  • Northern Cardinal 8
  • Blue Grosbeak 2
  • Painted Bunting 3
  • Red-winged Blackbird 12
  • Orchard Oriole 9

All sightings by Dan Symonds

August 9, 2008 – Dyess AFB

  • Northern Bobwhite 2
  • Great Blue Heron 1
  • Turkey Vulture 2
  • Mississippi Kite 2
  • Swainson’s Hawk 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk 1
  • American Kestrel 1
  • Rock Pigeon 11
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove 2
  • White-winged Dove 100
  • Mourning Dove 150
  • Common Nighthawk 2
  • Chimney Swift 3
  • Golden-fronted Woodpecker 2
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
  • Western Kingbird 10
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 4
  • Blue Jay 2
  • Cliff Swallow 150
  • Cave Swallow 50
  • Barn Swallow 10
  • Cactus Wren 3
  • Eastern Bluebird 6
  • American Robin 8
  • Northern Mockingbird 15
  • Curve-billed Thrasher 7
  • European Starling 29
  • Lark Sparrow 10
  • Northern Cardinal 4
  • Blue Grosbeak 2
  • Painted Bunting 2
  • Great-tailed Grackle 10
  • Brown-headed Cowbird 5
  • House Finch 15
  • Lesser Goldfinch 2
  • House Sparrow 2

All sightings by Dan Symonds

August 8, 2008 – Lake Kirby

  • Mallard: 5
  • Great Blue Heron: 1
  • Great Egret: 3
  • Snowy Egret: 5
  • Green Heron: 3
  • Least Bittern: 2
  • Common Moorhen: 2
  • American Coot: 2
  • Killdeer: 2
  • Upland Sandpiper: 1 overhead
  • Lesser Yellowlegs: 1
  • Greater Yellowlegs: 4
  • Spotted Sandpiper: 1
  • Pectoral Sandpiper: 1
  • Least Sandpiper: 15
  • Mourning Dove: 12
  • Barn Swallow: 25
  • Northern Mockingbird: 2
  • Red-winged Blackbird: 75
  • Great-tailed Grackle: 35

Sightings by Laura Packer